Updated: Jun 30, 2021
Coastal erosion is something that happens on coastlines all over the world. The result is retreating coastlines and eroded beaches. But what does this mean? Why is the environment changing and why should we care? I’m here to explain why we need to pay attention to coastal erosion and why it’s concerning.
According to ScienceDirect, “Coastal land is being swallowed by the seawater and coastal villages and houses are forced to move inland, which squeezes the living space of humans, destroys the beach biodiversity and ecological balance, and has direct or indirect harm on human life and natural environment. So the coastal erosion has changed from a natural environment change to a serious hazard.”
Coastal erosion is something that happens naturally, however, human interference along coastlines has resulted in even more erosion along our shore. Buildings, walls, etc. are all built along the coast and beaches. These man-made structures interfere with the natural tides. In addition to this, many oceanfront resorts tend to remove seaweed from their beaches to keep them looking pristine. Seaweed is actually a natural buffer from waves and rising tides, and without it the waves have the ability to more intensely sweep more sand out into the oceans.
So why should we care? Because of coastal erosion, our communities are being threatened. People are forced to move, houses are collapsing into the ocean. According to the U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit, coastal erosion is responsible for roughly $500 million per year in coastal property loss. More than 80,000 acres of coastal wetlands are lost every year. Because of this, natural habitats are being lost and threatened.
What can we do? Many communities are investing in coastal restoration projects. These projects restore the shoreline to its undeveloped state. These restored shorelines invite fish species and other local wildlife back into the area. The undeveloped shoreline will act as a buffer from the harsh seas like it had before it started to be developed.
Community members have the power to make the coast more resilient through restoration and many other action-based projects. Readers, comment below and tell us how your community is protecting its shorelines.